I’m just back from a week up in The Highlands. It was one of these beautiful times when the weather indulged to give us sharp, frosty mornings and turned mild enough to allow us to be atop Cairngorm in shirt sleeves later the same day. One morning when the frost was even colder I walked through the woods in Abernethy and stood under a fall of leaves that was more akin to a gentle snow fall. It really was a glorious week and (if I’m honest) I really didn’t want to come back to the city.
It’s the space that’s the wonderful part of being in Speyside. Empty roads, wild paths with no travellers and views without crowds stretching every way you look. Getting back to Edinburgh and Glasgow on Friday was quite the culture shock. I remember a family trip to New York five years ago when we decided it would be the place to spend the mid term in October. I have a distinct memory of tramping down 5th Avenue dreaming of Rothiemurchus.
Sometimes music coincides with places perfectly. I remember listening to Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ one cloudless morning driving down to Loch Garten – it seemed we were the first vehicle to break into the bed of fallen birch leaves. Seeing them slowly scatter as Neil’s drummer swept along to the track with floor brush was almost too perfect. This week we drove along to The Orphan Brigade’s ‘To The Edge of The World’ in its entirety and it sounded heavenly.
So it seems ironic that on this week’s Another Country we’ll look forward to one of the busiest gatherings of the year, Country to Country. It is however also one of our favourite weekends too and C2C 2020 is shaping up to be very special indeed. We’re already making plans for our coverage (bigger and better!) and if rumours are true we should be expecting some very special artist on the stage at The Hydro. I don’t want to tempt fate here but I couldn’t help but notice that all those voices complaining about the festival shifting to the big arena have gone rather quiet. Correctly, the Scottish audience have realised that a full Hydro is an exciting space for C2C and the allowance for a bigger audience is only making the likelihood of more acts coming here more probable. More news on who’s coming this Tuesday.
I will also be playing you lots of new discoveries. I’m particularly excited to share new albums by Walker Hayes, Eleni Mandell, Jack Klatt and something new by The Delines. It’s going to be records all the way and expect to be buying some new ones by the end of the week.
As I look out from my Glasgow window I can see all the colours of autumn. It’s a glorious sight. It only needs some music to make it perfect. I’ll try to sort that out for you on Tuesday evening. It all starts at five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland.
All year round I present a weekly program called Another Country which goes out every Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. You can find the show on BBC Radio Scotland.
Occasionally you'll find me on BBC Radio 2 with my New Tradition.
I also make special programs about artists whose music has inspired me; Ricky Ross Meets... is on BBC Radio Scotland.
You can listen to previous versions of all these shows via BBC Sounds.